Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2022

Project Overview

In 1997, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was launched to provide descriptive, nationally representative information on the characteristics, experiences and development of Head Start children and families, and the characteristics of the Head Start programs and staff who serve them.

FACES 1997-2009

Five FACES cohorts were fielded from 1997 through 2009 – FACES 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. Each cohort through 2009 includes a nationally representative sample of 3- to 4-year-old children entering Head Start for the first time in the fall of the program year, their families, Head Start teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs. Children are sampled from Head Start programs and centers from across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

FACES 2014-2018

In 2011, ACF redesigned the study in an effort to prioritize timely and relevant research questions, explore innovative design options, update assessment tools and measures, and to better meet the data needs of the Office of Head Start for ongoing management of the Head Start program.

The newly redesigned FACES, implemented in fall 2014, features a new “Core Plus” study design. The “Core” study includes regular, ongoing data collection on a set of key indicators at the program, classroom, and child/family level. The “Plus” options include rotating modules or one-time, special studies that allow for greater flexibility to respond to new policy issues and questions in a timely manner.

FACES 2019-2022

In 2017, a new contract was awarded continuing with the “Core Plus” design implemented in FACES 2014-2018. Data collection for the FACES CORE is fielded approximately every two years alternating between a “Classroom + Child Outcomes Core” and a “Classroom Core” data collection. Specifically, the Classrooms will be observed approximately every two years, while Child Outcomes will be observed approximately every four or five years.

The Classroom + Child Outcomes Core draws data from a nationally representative sample of 3- to 4-year-old children and their families, teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs in Regions I-X. The Classroom + Child Outcomes Core also includes a second sample of approximately 800 children and their families, teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs selected from Region XI programs.

FACES 2019-2022 is conducted through a contract to Mathematica Policy Research.

The points of contact are Mary Mueggenborg and Nina Philipsen Hetzner.

  • A Spotlight on Professional Development in Head Start: FACES Spring 2017

    Published: August 2, 2019

    This research brief describes the professional development (PD) experiences of Head Start staff (program directors, center directors, teachers, and other staff), using nationally representative data from the spring 2017 round of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014-2018 (FACES 2014). First we describe the landscape of PD for a variety of staff in Head Start. Next, we describe two specific types of PD that support classroom quality improvements: (1) coaching and (2) assessment and curriculum support. We also examine whether selected PD supports vary by program agency type, program size, teacher experience, and teacher education.

  • A Portrait of Head Start Classrooms and Programs: FACES Spring 2017 Data Tables and Study Design

    Published: April 25, 2019

    This report includes key information on the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014-2018 (FACES 2014) study design; in addition, a set of data tables presents descriptive statistics for the characteristics of programs, centers, classrooms, and teachers serving Head Start children and families in spring 2017. Data are drawn from the spring 2017 round of FACES 2014.

  • A Year in Head Start: Findings from FACES 2014 on Children’s Progress Toward School Readiness During the 2014-2015 Program Year

    Published: September 26, 2018

    This research brief describes the family background and developmental progress of Head Start children as they complete a program year (from fall 2014 to spring 2015), using recent data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2014). We examine...

  • Head Start Programs in Spring 2015: Structure, Staff, and Supports for Quality from FACES 2014

    Published: September 26, 2018

    This research brief describes the characteristics of Head Start programs, leaders, and teachers that prior research shows are related to classroom quality, using recent data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2014). We examine characteristics in five areas. First, we explore...

  • A Spotlight on Dual Language Learners in Head Start: FACES 2014

    Published: February 15, 2018

    TRecent national data highlights a shift in the racial/ethnic and linguistic composition of the child population in the United States and in Head Start. In Head Start, the percentage of Hispanic/Latino children enrolled in the program has increased from 19 percent in 1980 to 38 percent in 2014...

  • Descriptive Data on Head Start Children and Families from FACES 2014: Fall 2014 Data Tables and Study Design

    Published: February 15, 2018

    This report includes key information on the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014 (FACES 2014) study design and a set of data tables that presents descriptive statistics on the demographic backgrounds and developmental outcomes of children enrolled in Head Start in fall 2014. The tables also detail aspects of their home environment and family life. Data are drawn...

  • A National Portrait of Head Start Children and Families: FACES 2014

    Published: February 15, 2018

    A national portrait of the population Head Start serves provides information for Head Start to consider when assessing needs and setting national goals for the program. It is important for Head Start to have information about children and families’ strengths and needs at the beginning of the program year.

    Information on child and family characteristics...

  • A Portrait of Head Start Classrooms and Programs in Spring 2015: FACES 2014-2015 Data Tables and Study Design

    Published: February 15, 2018

    This report includes key information on the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014-2018 (FACES 2014) study design and a set of data tables that present descriptive statistics for the characteristics of classrooms, teachers, centers, and programs serving Head Start...

  • Building Family Partnerships: Family Engagement Findings from the Head Start FACES Study

    Published: February 15, 2018

    In recent years Head Start has worked to integrate parent and family engagement activities within program systems and services. This full-program approach is outlined in the Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework. Within this framework, family engagement...

  • Child and Family Outcomes During the Head Start Year: FACES 2014-2015 Data Tables and Study Design

    Published: February 15, 2018

    This report includes key information on the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey 2014 (FACES 2014) study design and a set of data tables that present descriptive statistics on the demographic backgrounds and developmental outcomes of children enrolled in Head Start in fall 2014 who were still enrolled in spring 2015. The tables also detail aspects of...

  • FACES Instrument Matrix

    Published: June 15, 2010

    The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) uses many instruments to collect data…

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